It was never meant to go into production, but such was the popularity of the Honda Z100 at the company’s Tama Tech amusement park, that it wasn’t long before the ‘Monkey Bike’ was soon on sale in dealerships around the world. From the original variant to the latest incarnation of the minibike, it’s an important reminder to all in this industry, that at the heart of two-wheeled success is always a sense of fun. So, for the crew at the recently opened ‘Foundry of Fortuity’, Deus Ex Machina’s South Korean operation, this was a chance to induce streets worth of smiles. Teaming up with Crazy Garage, they’ve built ‘Donkey Mk1’, a monkey to give you a cat-like grin.
“The Honda Z-series; you either love them or don’t know what they are. At Deus we lean towards the side of affection.” Here at Pipeburn HQ we share the love for the bike that was developed for kids’ amusement and has gone on to make many a grown man smile from ear to ear. The original version tipped the scales at just 50kg, but with the new bike having doubled in size, the fun factor hasn’t been slowed down with a modern 125cc engine.
Located in the heart of Seoul’s art district, the back streets around the Foundry are a 24hr outpouring of creativity and entertainment. So, what better way to navigate the laneways than on the back wheel of a minibike. “Every year Honda produces a new version of the Monkey and the 2021 model is where this story starts. Honda Korea reached out to us asking if we were interested in a Monkey customisation, and the answer in short was; “Yes, when can we start?”.
With the bike in the workshop, the guys sat down with the Crazy Garage team, and the words ‘easy, fun and dynamic’ were at the heart of the design. Speaking of hearts, the fuel-injected 125cc engine is a bulletproof piece of kit, but with less than 10bhp from the factory, there is always more to be extracted. The best solution in the quest for more power is to ditch the frustratingly small mid-pipe, tiny intake, and crappy muffler. These are then replaced with a Uni filter conversion kit, stainless exhaust pipe, and a hand-built Deus end can.
To protect the engine from any belly slapping landings or hidden curves, the team picked out a protection shield from Zeta Racing. Japan’s SP Takegawa came on board, with their vast experience with Monkey bikes and delivered a headlight guard for more mischief protection. And then to take care of the rider, a set of their knuckle guards and a billet wide footpeg kit, to keep the feet planted no matter how much air you get.
The blinged-out factory front fender stays in place, but the boys at Crazy Garage tricked out a rear cowl that gives the bike a real Kawasaki Z1 flavour. But the colour scheme is all Honda, with the company’s tricolour laid down on the tins and a funky ’60s Deus logo in yellow. That same hue is picked up on the pad for the Pro Taper MX handlebars that are matched with the brand’s own medium compound grips.
The final mods are all about maximising the fun factor in a very big way, and nothing lets you control your hooligan machine like a set of big-dollar Ohlins STX 36 shocks. And if you had any doubt as to how hard the boys plan to hammer the little Honda, they’ve fitted up an Outex steering stabiliser. To literally wrap things up, some flat track inspiration for all-weather sideways action comes in the form of Dunlop’s K180 rubber. She’s a little beauty, and to quote the boys from Deus, a few laps on Donkey will make “even the toughest leather-covered Angel grin like a Cheshire Cat.”
[ Deus Foundry ]